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Aims of custodial sentencing

The court requires an offender to be held in prison or some other closed community/treatment.
--2015 - 80,000 men and 4,000 women were in prison
The Prison Reform Trust (2014) reported that 46% of adults and over 67% of under 18's are reconvicted within one year of release
Recidivism/reoffending cost the economy at least £9.5 billion - not enough mental health services, so people end up committing crime.


Aims of custodial sentencing

-To protect the public = incapacitation i.e. violent offenders who are not capable of controlling their behaviours.
-To punish the offender = to decrease the likelihood of repeated behaviours (Behaviourist approach)
-As a deterrent = should discourage the general population from committing crimes
-To atone for wrong doing = retribution. The victim and their families wish to feel a sense of justice.
-To rehabilitate offenders = to prevent further offending, some sort of education or therapy should take place


Evaluation - punishment

-High rates of reoffending suggest for at least 50% of the population the punishment represented by incarceration does not work. Punishment is not immediate, disconnection between doing the crime and being punished
+However, that means that 50% of the population did not reoffend
--Learning theory = you learn from crimes and behaviour


Evaluation - deterrent

-Amnesty international (2015) no correlation , states that have the death penalty do not have low murder rates. No relationship between outcomes and ability to understand the deterrent.
-1973, a judge gave 20 years for a mugging. No drop in crime, but there was an increase in panic within the public. People who commit the crime, most likely don't read the news, so don't hear about these types of incidents.


Evaluation - Individual differences

Walker (1981) found that sentencing length made little difference to habitual offender. Recidivism may vary with age and crime - younger people are more likely to re-offend.
--Those committing crimes such as burglary or theft were 2x more likely to reoffend than drug or sex offenders.
--People often commit crimes during high state of emotional arousal.
--Career criminals. Don't associate punishment as you get a reward, its a 'job done'